Referendum: Ruto allies spell demands on law review proposal

Friday, August 16th, 2019 00:00 |
Deputy President William Ruto joins Topusa Traditional Troupe from South Sudan in a jig during Turkana Tourism Cultural Festival Tobong’ulore 2019 in Lodwar, Turkana, yesterday. Photo/DPPS

Kirera Mwiti and DPPS

Deputy President William Ruto has yesterday asked leaders to discard politics of division and ethnicity even as those in his company promised to back the proposed referendum if only it will reduce the number of elective and Executive positions. 

Speaking in Turkana during the annual Tobong’u Lore fete, Ruto said leaders must work together and commit to making the lives of the people better.

“We must refuse to be separated by artificial borders. We are one community and our togetherness is our strength,” he said.

However, some politicians present claimed they would rally behind the proposed review of the Constitution if it eases the electorate’s burden.

The leaders, who included, governors Josephat Nanok (Turkana), Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni), MPs John Lodepe (Turkana Central), Oscar Sudi (Kapseret) and Joyce Emanikor (Turkana County).

“We must be sober on this issue. County Assemblies need to engage the public on the proposed review of the Constitution because such a process informs our country’s future,” said Nanok.  

However, he doubted that the country could afford to hold the referendum now.

“I do not think there are funds to support the change of the Constitution. We should make maximum use of the current Constitution for the benefit of the country,” he said.

Sudi said any changes to the Constitution “must be for a better Kenya”.

“We will not rally behind a referendum that is after creating seats for the few political losers,” he said.

Lodepe said the burden on Kenyans needs to be reduced. 

“If we can reduce the number of leaders, then the better for our country. We will assess and see if Punguza Mizigo will be of benefit to Kenyans,” he said.

He asked leaders not to politicise the process, but approach it with the desired objectivity.

The Turkana Woman Representative said she would resist moves that exert more pressure on citizens.

Uganda’s Minister for Karamoja Affairs John Byabagambi urged leaders to encourage cross-exchange of cultures between various communities to bring about stability in the society.

“The integration of cultures reduces tension between communities and promotes unity. Today, we are enjoying peaceful co-existence between the Pokot, Turkana and the Karamoja of Uganda because of Tubong’u Lore,” he said.

Meanwhile, civil societies have called for the reconstitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) saying the current one is not fit to carry a plebiscite.

They said the current IEBC cannot be trusted following the controversial 2017 General Election that split the country into two.

At a media briefing in Naivasha,  the Convener of Civil Society Reference Groups Suba Churchill said the State agency needs fresh minds.

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